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Thread: Planning a road trip

  1. #1

    Default Planning a road trip

    Iím planning a 2 to 3 week road trip from Ohio to California in the next couple months. I would like to take my mandolin alone. Any suggestions on whether it should be packed in the car sitting on its side or laying flat? It has a nice hard shell case.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    They are reasonably sturdy little buggers. As long as it is in its case I don’t think flat or on the side really matters (avoiding any heavy weight on the case that could distort it so much that the mandolin is crushed, of course). I stored my mandolin for over a year in a closet nestled between guitar cases, with the case upside down sort of hanging by the body of the mandolin, and when I pulled it out to play after a long hiatus it was fine. I think the bigger issue is not leaving it in a hot car, or in a very cold car (not really an issue this time of year) - or really ever in the car unattended. There are too many stories here at the cafe about an instrument being stolen from a vehicle when left unattended for a short period of time. Whenever I have an instrument with me and have to go into a store - even briefly - I bring it with me rather than risk it being stolen. And temperature or humidity extremes (as well as rapid changes in temperature or humidity) can wreak havoc on an instrument.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Lucas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    It would be safer to lay it flat. If you chose to place it on its side, make sure it is firmly packed against your other items to prevent the case from being jostled around, which can occur with sudden starts and stops. As lukmanohnz mentioned, temperature and theft are other big concerns. It is starting to get quite warm in CA, especially here in southern CA. Thieves are attracted to items left in a car. If you can, carry your mando with you when you leave your car.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Legitimate concern. We road trip in our RV 8 months out of 12 in non Covid Times. I always take a good playable mando with me but leave my favorite (usually most costly) mando safe at home. All prior mentioned hazards are a reality. Enjoy your trip and I'm hoping you a calamity free road trip enjoyable enough that you want to do it more than 2 weeks at a time.
    Note that some campgrounds are desperate for entertainment and willing to provide free camping in exchange. This is especially true for Naturist Campgrounds rather than Textile Campgrounds. Naturists campgrounds are generally more customer/camper oriented.
    Last edited by Pittsburgh Bill; May-09-2021 at 9:58am.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas View Post
    ... make sure it is firmly packed ...
    Extra underwear makes for fine padding inside the case. Usually do it while flying, but it couldn't hurt in a car.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    ... especially true for Naturist Campgrounds rather than Textile Campgrounds.
    Huh? Tent / no tent???

    Oooohhh... So you might want to cancel that "extra underwear" idea!
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    If it's packed in the car so that it can't/won't fall over then flat or on it's side will both work fine. I'd recommend having something you can cover the case with - I drove from California to New York last summer to catch a flight back home to Ireland (was bringing my dogs back home with me, couldn't get a direct flight with them from the West Coast, hence the road trip). The temperatures were quite high - I did my best to situate the instrument cases so that they weren't getting hit by direct sun but in the course of driving, as the day wore on the sun's position changed and inevitably they would be - keeping them covered with a sleeping bag/jackets seemed to help as the cases were always cool to the touch underneath - it also meant that no one could see an instrument case if they were looking through the windows/beside me in traffic/at a gas station etc.. I also second the advice to always take your mandolin with you - not sure what the rest of the state is like but in the SF Bay Area right now there's been a big increase in car break ins.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    It also doesn't hurt to find out what your homeowner's insurance would cover if you have personal possessions lost or stolen while you are traveling.

    And, if you find yourself in the general area of Phoenix, AZ, we would be happy to provide dinner and a bed for the night (hopefully you're dog-friendly? They're human-friendly . . . .)
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    I think the bigger issue is not leaving it in a hot car ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    If it's packed in the car so that it can't/won't fall over then flat or on it's side will both work fine... I did my best to situate the instrument cases so that they weren't getting hit by direct sun but in the course of driving, as the day wore on the sun's position changed and inevitably they would be - keeping them covered with a sleeping bag/jackets seemed to help as the cases were always cool to the touch underneath - it also meant that no one could see an instrument case if they were looking through the windows/beside me in traffic/at a gas station etc.. I also second the advice to always take your mandolin with you ...
    I agree completely with this advice. The case will insulate the instrument, but only to a point, and you definitely don't want to go beyond that point. I'll leave an instrument covered in my car only if I'm making a bathroom run at a gas station along the highway, because the floors in there ...

    As Jill said, those cases will still absorb lots of heat from sunbeams coming through the window, which won't be entirely offset by your car's AC. So, you may want to pack your car/truck/van in a way that you can easily move your mando to the shaded side of the vehicle as the day progresses.

    I'll add that I never put an instrument on the floor of the car. Even though it would be more shielded from sunbeams and eyeballs down there, it doesn't get the shock absorption that it gets on the carseat. I do lay my instruments flat on the seat because I think that the neck gets better support from the case that way, but I have friends who pack their instruments case handle up with no issues arising from that.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Of course, you should put it down. In any case, do not push it to the wall. Of course, it would be ideal to tie it with a few laces or a rope to something along the entire length of the case. Then you can know that everything with your mandolin will be fine. It is unlikely that you will damage it in a case and tied it to the seat. I've recently traveled by train. The tickets were pretty cheap, and I wanted to take a ride instead of flying. If it weren't for the tickets from https://www.dbauskunft.com/de/, it is unlikely that I would feel like a schoolboy on a train again... My mandolin was tied to the upper bed. I completely immobilized her. Rest assured, everything will be great.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    I always take a good playable mando with me but leave my favorite (usually most costly) mando safe at home.
    I just did this same thing on a recent vacation. Bringing something not so precious makes most of these questions go away. I buried the thing out of sight, as I was more worried someone would break my window thinking it was worth something.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    I think horizontal or vertical is of little concern as long as the case is physically secured and won't fall or jiggle, but thermal concerns are a big deal in a long trip. Even with AC on, the direct sunlight on instrument cases is not a good idea.

    For long road trips I cover my instrument cases with a blanket and then with one of those reflective space blankets, shiny side out. Keeps everything remarkably cooler.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Haven't heard back from the OP (back in May). Wonder what was was done and how it went!
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Worth noting, several case materials and designs make your mandolin a perfect projectile for shooting forward at human occupants, or back out a back window or hatchback given the right gravity situations.

    After having shot my main playing mandolin in its case downhill out our car's hatchback, I now routinely tie or attach a strategically placed safety belt through the hand grip on my mandolin case.

    BTW, the mandolin survived nicely, while the case willingly gave its life in service of its duty.

    Last edited by dhergert; Sep-20-2021 at 3:08pm.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    If the mandolin is in a decent hard case - it doesn't make a difference really. I would strongly recommend that you don't put anything heavy on the case and make sure the mandolin is not by a window etc - both for heat and theft reasons.

    While you're driving, if you're comfortable in the car - generally the mandolin will be fine.
    When you have to park, the heat will increase quickly - so either don't leave your mandolin in the car, or if you have to, make sure it's buried under something like clothes or a blanket and not in direct sunlight. Also make it as quick as you can.

    I just did a road trip from San Diego to NY and back. I brought my Newson mandolin and my Jon Mann 5 string along with an amp, pedal board, and computer for recording. It took me 6 days to get to NY and 6 days to get back - with a good number of stops in between (I had my dog with me too). Even with multiple rearrangements, I had no issues at all. Just keep it in a hard case. You'll be fine.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Yes, always a hard case, unless a good case can be made for an exception. One such case, in which a soft case was the best case, occurred on a recent flight up to visit a lady and also my luthier - swapping out a mandolin that needed repairs for one that had had them done. Using a soft case produced a much thinner profile than a hard case, which enabled it to slide easily under the seat. But that's not the same case in the context of a road trip by ground transportation, in which a hard case is the best case, just in case. I rest my case.
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Greetings. You got some good advice about traveling with your mando. Another thought; let me know if you are passing through Sheridan or Buffalo Wyoming, and I'll round up some folks to pick with.

  18. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    Certainly a useful thread fo the general public here and even with advice for nudist mandolins G’s, but I have a feeling the OP forgot about this thread altogether and the trip he/she took is long over.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Planning a road trip

    The OP of this thread is also the last post the OP has made, dating to May 9th.

    Quote Originally Posted by randybrown View Post
    I’m planning a 2 to 3 week road trip from Ohio to California in the next couple months.
    To me, "couple" means "two or three." After that, one gets into "a few," then "several," more and more vague as the estimate becomes more and more. But here, if that's three months to begin a two to three week road trip, he should have gotten to California by the end of August.

    But he does call himself "Wanderer," so he may well have varied his route and the time he spent along the way considerably. One hopes. It would be nice for him to let us know how he dealt with the matter of interest, and even tell us of an occasional event during the voyage - an "electronic postcard" now and then - so we wouldn't worry, and might even enjoy tales of some of his adventures. I learned long ago how to use my phone's Hot Spot capability to enable my laptop to access the internet nearly everywhere; he may not have done so. Still, there are libraries ... The technology is there; it's whether one uses it.

    Well, yes, we run into this all too often - thread starters who don't follow up their own thread. We'll see where this leads ... or not ...
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